Find a hospital when traveling overseas – practical advice

Practical Advice – Preparing for a medical emergency and finding a hospital when traveling overseas

I was approached by to provide an article on practical advice to prepare for  and findi a hospital when traveling overseas.  It was just published and I thought it would be good to share with the HealthyTOKYO community.

Most of us do not consider the possibility of requiring medical care while visiting a foreign country. What do you need to do to prepare to cope with an unexpected illness or accident while overseas? How do you find a hospital in a foreign land? While you pack for your next trip, don’t forget to take along the following advice.


Do make sure you have insurance

Consider the following three ways to cover your medical costs when traveling:

  1. Your domestic health plan may also cover you when overseas.
  2. If not, your credit card may offer sufficient coverage for medical issues abroad.
  3. When in doubt, you can always purchase travel insurance. Make sure you understand any exclusions or limitations.

Do bring a sufficient supply of your own medications

Always bring along a sufficient supply of any prescription and non-prescription medications you require. Carry them in your hand luggage. If you will be traveling for an extended period, be aware that some countries have limitations on the amount of medicine you can bring in at one time. Don’t forget the simple items like antibiotic cream and OTC pain relievers. Be careful with controlled substances

Do know whom to contact in an emergency

There are resources available to help you find the right places for healthcare overseas. If you have an emergency, speak with your hotel concierge or dial the local ambulance number. If it is not an emergency, embassies generally compile lists of hospitals. Look online for medical concierge assistance services to help you in the area you are travelling in.

Do identify your virtual caregiver

Entering a hospital in a foreign country after an accident or for an illness can be a confusing and frustrating experience. Before you depart on your trip, designate someone you trust to be contacted (and possibly make decisions for you) in the case that you need support. Create a small card that indicates who should be contacted in case of emergency. Also, consider adding your personal physicians contact information to the card.